A pain-free New Year’s resolution

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By Jerry Moczerniuk PT, DPT

How many of you experience some form of regular or frequent musculoskeletal pain? Does your pain prevent you from living your life the way you would want? Pains such as low back pain, neck pain, and pain in the ankles, knees, hips, hands and shoulders are very common, and can be a major contributor to physical and psychological disabilities.

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The definition of pain has changed over the years. Most recently, the International Association for Study of Pain proposed that pain is an aversive sensory and emotional experience typically caused by, or resembling that caused by, actual or potential tissue injury. As our understanding of pain deepens we now recognize that pain is not only physical, but also emotional and psychological. Pain can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as physical disability. Uncontrolled, or poorly controlled pain can become a vicious cycle that may overtake many aspects of your life. A report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain, and 50% of Americans are affected by some musculoskeletal condition annually.

Now that the New Year is upon us, most of us attempt, or at least consider, making New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions are to exercise, lose weight and get in better health. Not many people however make a resolution to address their pains.

But why not? Why not begin to take some steps to identify the cause, and reduce or eliminate your pain? Reducing the pain, even a small amount can positively impact many aspects of your life. Make a commitment to start moving more. Most pain, including back and neck pain, arthritis, and many other musculoskeletal pains decrease with movement.

In a decade of practice, I learned that the difficulty lies in accurately diagnosing the root cause of the pain. Without properly establishing what causes someone’s pain, treatment may only be a temporary Band-Aid. An in-depth evaluation and determination of causality can have a longer lasting improvement and or resolution of symptoms. More importantly, determining a specific cause of pain can empower and allow an individual to better manage and/or prevent pain episodes. Many people however rely on pain pills and reduction or elimination of activities as a means of controlling pain. This in itself can have adverse effects on overall health and wellbeing.

Remember to take good care of yourself in this upcoming New Year. That includes taking control over any pain you may have. Consider seeing a physical therapist, and take control of your pain, before pain takes control of your life.

Physical therapists are graduate-trained health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose and then treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life. They empower their patients and clients to be active participants in their treatment. Through extensive education of the clients regarding their ailments and conditions, and collaborative work with those clients, treatment plans are individualized and specific towards each person’s specific goals, challenges, and needs. It is important to know that physical therapy is covered by most health insurance plans, and in New Jersey most insurances do not require a prescription to see a physical therapist.

Dr. Jerry Moczerniuk is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, member of American Physical Therapy Association, and a clinical director at db Orthopedic Physical Therapy of Manalapan, located at 120 Craig Road, Suite 2. Dr. Moczerniuk can be reached at 732-462-2162 or Jerry@dborthopt.com. For more information, visit dborthopt.com.

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